Avid small craft sailor and boat builder, Jim has been a professional woodworker for all of his adult life. Jim began his career in Richmond, Va. as a woodwright in an old architectural millwork firm in the historic Church Hill district. During those years in the 1970’s, he also attended art school, earning a BFA in painting from Virginia Commonwealth University. It was there that he met artist Holly Sears, his wife of 39 years. Jim pursued an art career for many years, moving to a loft in Williamsburg, Brooklyn in the wild mid eighties, but finally gave in to the lure of classic boats, and in one fell swoop converted his painting studio to a boat shop, building and restoring several boats.
In the early nineties, Jim and Holly discovered the Sebago Canoe Club, where they have been dedicated members for over twenty years. Canoe sailing was a big part of their boating in the early years of their tenure there, though they sailed a Hobie 16 for a while in Sandy Hook, and a Bob Harris designed Sunburner 27 catamaran from Eastchester Bay, near City Island. But the allure of small boat sailing led them back to Brooklyn to develop the dinghy sailing program at Sebago, where they have remained since. Sebago’s active racing and cruising program is their legacy at the club.
In recent years, Jim has been instrumental in designing and building Sebago’s new boat shop, and in spearheading an active boat building program. The boat shop’s inaugural project is the building of a new twenty-three foot deadrise power boat, the Point Comfort 23. As Jim says, “We’re just getting started!”